Virginia vs. Wake Forest prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Cavaliers and Demon Deacons on Saturday in Winston-Salem, NC.
Virginia vs. Wake Forest Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Where: BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
The Cavaliers (2-6, 1-3 ACC) are coming off of a heartbreaking home loss to Louisville, as Lamar Jackson led a 75-yard drive (culminating with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Smith with 13 seconds remaining) to help the Cardinals escape with a 32-25 win after being down 25-24 late.
Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons (5-3, 2-2) dropped a home contest to Army when Black Knights quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw scored on an 11-yard keeper with 11:45 left to set up a 21-13 win. The Black Knights dominated the fourth quarter, as Darnell Woolfolk added a scoring run of his own with 2:54 left for what amounted to a clinching score. The Cadets snapped a nine-game losing streak to Wake Forest with their first win in the series since 1989.
Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson spent four seasons as the head coach at Richmond, but he never faced Virginia. After playing every season from 1980-2003, UVA and Wake Forest will be meeting for only the fourth time in the past 13 seasons and the first time since 2012. In that contest, Chad Hedlund kicked three field goals to give the Demon Deacons a 16-10 road win and hand the Cavaliers their sixth consecutive loss.
What To Know About Virginia
The Hoos played one of their best games of the season last week against Louisville, which had plenty of time on the clock (1:57) to stage a game-winning drive and break the hearts of UVA, which entered as a 33.5-point underdog. The Cavaliers held Jackson without a rushing touchdown and sacked him five times. It would have been a signature win for Bronco Mendenhall in his first year in Charlottesville, but it ended up being a “close, but no cigar” situation. Quarterback Kurt Benkert completed 25 of 39 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns, but he threw two costly interceptions, including one that led to the Cardinals’ first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter.
What to Know About Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons can become eligible for a bowl for the first time since 2011 with a win over the Cavaliers, but last week’s loss still has to sting. Army ran for 107 yards in the fourth quarter and outscored the Demon Deacons 14-3 behind scoring drives spanning 88 and 60 yards. Wake quarterback John Wolford threw two interceptions on overthrown balls on the first three possessions, which didn’t help, and the offense sputtered late as well.
Offense: Virginia. The Cavaliers are averaging 26.1 points per game, while the Demon Deacons are putting up 20.6 points per contest.
Defense: Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons have been stingy, allowing just 18.3 points per outing.
Special Teams: Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons have a better special teams efficiency rating than the Cavaliers.
Coaching: Even. Clawson is on the cusp of his first bowl appearance in Winston-Salem, while Mendenhall is starting to make an impact in his first season in Charlottesville.
Intangibles: Even. Both teams are coming off of tough losses. The Hoos know they could have beaten Louisville, while the Demon Deacons would like to ensure postseason eligibility.
Matchup To Watch
Wolford vs. UVA defense
The Demon Deacons signal-caller is completing just 54.9 percent of his throws with just four touchdowns against seven interceptions on the season. Five of those picks have come in the last two weeks, so Clawson needs much better play from his quarterback against a defense that is giving up 294.5 yards per game. This is the perfect opportunity for Wolford to have his best passing day of the year.
Spread: Wake Forest -2.5
Virginia vs. Wake Forest Prediction
This won’t be the prettiest of ACC matchups, but it should be close. Wolford will limit his mistakes and do enough damage through the air to help Wake notch a home win and ensure postseason eligibility.
Virginia vs. Wake Forest Score Prediction: Wake Forest 23, Virginia 20